After months of feeling like the cud to American Idol’s masticating cow, I gotta say leaping right into the warm, sweaty, finely toned embrace of So You Think You Can Dance last night was, well, it was like coming home, dear readers. There was more artistry, charisma, sex appeal, and jaw-in-the-basement moments in the two-hour season premiere — heck, in two minutes of the two-hour season premiere — than there was in whole episodes of the just concluded season of Idol. This SYTYCD episode wasn’t perfect, of course; we still spent far too little time on the auditions of dancers who made it through to the semifinals in Las Vegas and far too much on train-wreck oddballs like Sex. And I’m sorry to disappoint his ”fans,” but this will be the last time the three-peat offender will be mentioned in this (or any) TV Watch, because even though I did think judges Mary Murphy and Nigel Lythgoe didn’t exactly take the high road with him — why did Nigel bother broadcasting Sex’s audition if he feels all Sex wants is to be on television? — I do agree with Nigel on one thing: More attention is the last thing this guy needs.
Not when so much attention must be paid to this show’s multifaceted scrumtrillescence. It was kinda sad during the recap of past seasons that opened the show to hear host Cat Deeley tout the ”record 16 million votes” that came in for last year’s season finale just a day after Ryan Seacrest touted the record 97.5 million votes that came in for this year’s Idol’s finale. Sad, but also kinda cool; clearly we fans of SYTYCD are members of a super-exclusive club, like, say, the state of Wisconsin to Idol’s take-all-comers California (the state, for the record, in which I live). All the same, it’s still worth reviewing some of the many reasons I — and, I hope, all of you — love this show so much, so let’s count the ways together as we revisit the auditions in my home city of Los Angeleese.
It’s sometimes impossible to tell whether a dancer is any good This paradoxically delightful, um, paradox was established with the night’s very first audition. Was I the only one who thought Devon Oshiro’s whirling routine could just as well have been to the growling guitars of ”Barracuda” that played accidentally at first instead of whatever soft-and-gentle throw-pillow music she ended up dancing to? The judges sat so stone-faced through the number that I honestly hadn’t a clue whether Devon was any good or not until they told me. Likewise, I had to scratch my head when Mary told the ballroom couple Leonidas ”Shia ‘Mutt Williams’ LaBeouf” Proskurov and Aliona ”Ashlee ‘Pre-Nose-Job’ Simpson” Vetrenko that she thought they danced with ”class.” If by ”class,” Mary means ”hip-swiveling, fellatio-alluding panache,” then, sure — maybe it’s a special dancing term, like ”great lines” or ”floor work.”
NEXT: The babe factor